Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District: Connecting People, Parks and Nature: Thank you, Beaverton: Gift donations increase sharply, food drive next

by Bob Wayt08 Giving drive results - final - 2-13-18

Sure it’s March, and the holidays ended a couple months ago. But it’s never too late to share good news, right? And the results of THPRD’s annual holiday giving drive certainly qualify as that:

  • The number of gifts collected from patrons and THPRD staff surpassed 600 – more than double the previous year.
  • More than 1,000 pounds of linens, towels and personal hygiene products were donated to the Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange for Women and Their Children program in Beaverton – at least triple the amount of last year. Surplus capacity was donated to Beaverton High School and Merlo Station High School. During the giving drive, emphasis was placed on serving the most vulnerable and least privileged members of our community.

This included families and unaccompanied youth who meet the federal government’s definition of homeless: “lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

“I see our giving drive as a way to reach out and connect THPRD to some of the most vulnerable families in our community,” said Jose Esparza, community engagement specialist, who led the effort. “We want to make them feel welcome, even before they step into a THPRD center.”

Esparza thanked everyone who donated and Beaverton School District staff for their help in identifying families in need.

“The giving drive requires a lot of work but it’s very rewarding work,” he said. “We saw a few happy tears from moms on delivery day. Thank you all for your support.”

If you missed your chance to help, another opportunity is coming. The annual food drive that has traditionally been a part of the holiday effort has been shifted to summer – and for good reason.

“What we hear from the community is that food donations peak during the holiday season but begin dipping in spring, and the greatest need is actually in summer,” said Doug Menke, THPRD general manager.

“That happens to be when our community engagement is highest. It gives us an opportunity to make a bigger impact on households facing food insecurity, and we invite everyone to join us.”